“Olá Portugal” – or when Scouts Dance on the Corridors of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
Whenever Scouts travel abroad it is always good to contact a local Group in advance, and that is just what a group of Rover Scouts from Portugal did when they planned their recent trip to the United Kingdom (UK). And then they ended up dancing down a Children’s hospital’s corridor with their hosts!
This is because their host was the 17th Holborn Scout & Guide Group in London. It is one of the few Groups in the UK which is both member of The Scout Association (WOSM) and of Girl Guiding UK (WAGGGS). But that is not the only speciality: in fact, 17th Holborn has been meeting in Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH), in London since 1957. So, this is the 60th year the Group provides Scouting and Guiding activities for patients and their siblings - whether or not they are members of either of the Movements back home.
“The activities we offer for the patients and their brothers or sisters is a welcome break from the hospital routine for the young people,” explains Andrew Rush, Group Scout Leader, “The programme relieves their boredom and allows their parents some time to themselves instead of focussing entirely on the child.” The activities are run at a weekly meeting on Tuesday evenings, and “members for the night” can be aged from five years old to eighteen and speakers of a variety of languages.
Thanks to the 17th Holborn’s presence on Facebook, Mariana, Beatriz and their friends from Clã Rainha Santa Mafalda of Agrupamento 1302, the Rover Section of the local Scout Group of Corpo Nacional de Escutas (CNE) in Arouca, near Porto (Portugal), knew of the existence of this special group and decided to include a visit in the programme of their group’s summer trip to the United Kingdom.
“The Scouts even offered to run the programme for the evening,” recalls Andrew, “so we asked them to bring some of Portugal to central London!”
And that is exactly what the Rover Scouts from Portugal did:
Andy explains: “First, we learned where Portugal is and how far away it is from the United Kingdom. We were lucky that the weather in London that day was almost as good as at their home near Porto!”
“We then played some games and our Guides and Scouts asked lots of questions about Scouting and Guiding in Portugal.”
“One of the highlights of the evening was the Portuguese folk dance - a “Malhão” - all of us learned and then performed. We all imagined dancing to live music on a village square in sunny Portugal!”
Later on, the visitors were able to see some of the wards and the Hospital's Chapel of St Christopher.
“The Scouts and Guides of 17th Holborn are really grateful for the time the Portuguese Scouts spent with us that day,” concludes Andrew, adding a special message to their visitors and new friends from Porto: “Obrigado por sua visita e os maravilhosos momentos que passamos juntos! And “Happy 10th Anniversary” to Agrupamento 1302!”
And now, come on: Let’s join the Scouts for the dance down the the corridors of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children!
Contributing to text and images: Andrew Rush (17th Holborn), Beatriz Tavares (Agrupamento 3102)